F1 Today – 17/01/2017

F1 Today

Deliver to earn you’re future – Wolff

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff says Valtteri Bottas needs to deliver performances if he is to have a long term future with the German manufacturer. Yesterday, the Finn after weeks of rumour was confirmed as the replacement for Nico Rosberg who retired last month.

Mercedes hasn’t announced the length of Bottas’s contract, but Wolff has hinted that it is an initial one-year term with options beyond that. When asked about how long Bottas was signed for, Wolff said “We have a couple of options.”

He told Sky Sports “We were caught back with Nico’s decision to retire and we have some great junior drivers with Pascal [Wehrlein] and Esteban [Ocon] coming up the ranks.”

“But they need a little bit more time so for us it was key to keep the options open and Valtteri is very well aware of that. He needs to just perform and be quick and then the future can be his.” Mercedes where reluctant to promote there junior drivers Esteban Ocon and Pascal Wehrlein, feeling they lacked experience.

Mercedes are aware that currently stands, both Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso are both out of contract in December. Hamilton’s Mercedes deal runs to the end of 2018.

Bottas first season in the Mercedes will be tough as he will know he will be judged on how he fares against Hamilton, who Wolff says  is “almost unbeatable” when at his best.


Bottas best for the job – Lauda

Niki Lauda, Mercedes non-executive director has also been speaking about Valtteri Bottas. The three times world champion has tipped the Finn to be just as quick and says he has the right to push Lewis Hamilton as hard as he wants.

Yesterday, it was confirmed that Bottas had moved from Williams to Mercedes following weeks of talks. Lauda has not doubts that the fin can be as quick as Hamilton. Lauda told RTL “Bottas is the best man (for the job). I believe that he can drive as fast as Nico. I believe he can win the world championship.”

“We can start the season in a very calm and confident manner with the pair of them,” added the Mercedes team’s non-executive chairman. Last year, Hamilton was pushed by Nico Rosberg who beat him on track for the first time in his career.

Lauda says the mood in the team was relaxed because they again had two top drivers. “We looked for a driver who fits our team. Until now we always had two top drivers who could fight for the world championship.” Said Lauda

“Nico and Lewis were a fine example of that, because they were fighting head-to-head. In the last three years we won everything there was to win. And this is why we decided to go with Bottas, as he brings experience and speed to the team.”


Lowe leaves Mercedes

Paddy Lowe has left his post as Mercedes Technical Director. The brit who led the team to three drivers’ and constructors’ championship doubles in a row from 2014 to 2016, is expected to join Williams.

The news comes the day after it was announced that Valtteri Bottas had left Williams for Mercedes. This deal was expected as part of the agreement for the Fin to move to the German manufacturer.

Lowe’s new role will see him head up the technical side of the entire Williams group, including the F1 team. He is also expected to head up the burgeoning Williams Advanced Technologies business. However, the final deal hasn’t been signed.

Williams are trying to line up Toro Rosso’s James Key to join them at the end of the year. Mercedes boss Toto Wolff said “Paddy has played an important part in our success during the past three and a half years and we thank him for his contribution.”

“Success in Formula 1 is not about single individuals but about the strength in depth and technical capability of an organisation. We have the talent in place to continue our success of recent years.” Lowe will be on gardening leave before taking up the role.

“I have had a fantastically successful and enjoyable three and a half years at Mercedes. I am now looking forward to a new challenge and wish everyone well at Mercedes.” Said Lowe.

Lowe is set to be replaced in July by Ferrari’s former technical director James Allison. Allison  split with the Italian team last July as they underwent a restructure of their technical department.


Changes at every circuit – Mekies

The FIA says that every circuit will be required to make changes to accommodate the faster cars that are being introduced this season. New regulations have brought in revised aerodynamics and bigger tyres, which are expected to reduce lap times and increase cornering speeds.

Organisers of the opening race in Melbourne have already announced changes on safety grounds. Over the weekend FIA deputy race director and safety director Laurent Mekies, said that all tracks are required to make changes.

Speaking at Autosport International Show he said “Every single team has been asked to provide simulations for their 2017 cars. We used these simulations to feed our simulation software.

“We simulated every single track with the 2017 car, so there is much higher cornering speed. It’s up to 40 km/h faster in high-speed corners. Every single track is receiving from the FIA a request to upgrade based on that.”

Mekies added that not all tracks have received the upgrade requests and its being done in championship order.


Encourage by Renault’s progress

Red Bull Technical Director Adrian Newey says he is encouraged by the performance of the Renault power unit after seeing the predicted numbers. The French manufacturer has made progress following a difficult 2015.

The progress that Renault made has been praised by the team’s owner Dietrich Masteschitz, who has hopes his team can become more of a threat to Mercedes this season. Newey speaking at Autosport International said “Renault have been working very hard over the winter”

“I know their numbers for this year, it’s a good step forwards. As always, the same as with us [on the chassis side], what we don’t know is what our rivals have been up to.” Newey added. He also said he was pleased with Renault’s improvement they had made last year, but says they still have work they need to do.

The regulation changes which are being introduced this season are aero focus but, Newey says that engines still have a key part. He says because there is more power this means there is more grip rather than the gap widening. Newey is still involved in the F1 side, but is spending more time on oth projects.

Newey added “I do enjoy regulation changes, because the idea is then to understand the effect of those regulation changes better than your competitors.”

“Perhaps there are new opportunities, perhaps there are things in the rules where what the rules say and what they intend are not the same thing.”


Nice names street after Bianchi

A Street in Nice is set to be renamed after the former Marussia driver Jules Bianchi, who died in July 2015 after suffering injuries at 2014 Japanese Grand Prix.

The city on the French Riviera has chosen to honour the local man who took part in thirty four races and scored his only points at his home Grand Prix in Monaco. The  ceremony will take place on January 23, at the corner of current ‘rue du Sapin’ and ‘avenue Pierre de Coubertin’.

Last year the city also chose to name a street after the swimmer Camille Muffat. Muffat was a three times Olympic medallist, who died in a helicopter collision during the filming of a TV reality show, back in 2015.

French team Tech 1 Racing, has announced it’s would support the Jules Bianchi Society by displaying its logos on the four cars it will enter in Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 this year


Rosberg takes up ambassadorial role

Nico Rosberg has taken up an ambassadorial role for Mercedes. The current world champion retired from the sport last year following winning his debut championship victory.

He retired so he could have more time with his family giving away little details about his future. But today Mercedes have confirmed he will remain with the team in this new role.

His first engagement was today, with    former teammate Lewis Hamilton in Geneva at the Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie (SIHH) on behalf of the team’s partner IWC.


Jack is responsible for the day-to-day running of Formula One Vault. He brings you all the brilliant content. Has an obsession with all things Formula One and anything with an engine.

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